“TWAP! In the name of love, before you break my heart!” as The Supremes didn’t sing back in 1965. But they might have done had they been living in Twickenham rather than the Motor City and whilst taking a keen interest in the regeneration of the town (48 years in the future). That makes next to no sense but luckily a plan going before Richmond Council’s cabinet on 16th May is a little grounded in reality.
In support of its Twickenham Action Plan (aka TWAP) El Brute is proposing to buy a piece of land for the good of us all. Huzzah! Probably. The site in question is on the corner of King Street and Water Lane. Or to be precise it’s 1, 1a and 1b King Street (namely Santander, M&Co and Superdrug) and 2/4 Water Lane (the car park area behind the bank). The intention? To open up the corner of Water Lane, King Street and Church Street into more of a plaza-like thing, and make better use of the area behind Santander. This is likely to involve linking up the space with the service road that runs along the top of the Jubilee Gardens. Furthermore, by giving the Council ownership of all the land between King Street and Twickenham Embankment it would allow for a more coherent approach to improving and developing this valuable piece of Twickenham’s riverside. And that’s the tricky part, ‘improving’ is not always the same as ‘developing’ and one person’s exciting new development is another’s blot on the landscape. Needless to say any building project won’t be without cost and involving a commercial partner whose objectives might not be quite to the liking of every single person in Twickenham who’s ever held an opinion could present some challenges. Remember the plans for the pool site? Course you do, but we live in hope.
There might also be some who wonder how the Council can start buying up land during a recession but with the plot on the market, it does feel like a real opportunity for El Brute to invest in something that will help deliver a long-term improvement for Twickenham. And, when it comes to considering the options in detail, keeping the huge asset that is Twickenham’s river frontage open for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike should be at the top of the list.
More on this story to follow. Probably.
* Richmond Council papers on the plan
* Richmond Council Cabinet Agenda
* Twickenham Riverside Blog – background on the site
And so there we have it. Solum Regeneration’s plans for Twickenham station will go ahead after all. Well, we say ‘after all’ but there’s no sense of surprise here at twickerati HQ in the light of today’s Court announcement chucking out TRAG’s appeal against the scheme’s approval. None.
A station. In Twickenham
When El Brute (that’s ‘LBRuT’ to the uninitiated) approved the plans in December 2011 amid rowdy scenes at York House, that moment marked the end of any serious opportunity to get the development changed. Local Twickenham agitators, TRAG, have battled hard to get the Council’s decision reversed, first through a judicial review and then by taking their case to the Court of Appeal but today’s ruling surely marks the end of the line for opposition to the scheme. Or rather, it marks the end of the line for any credible means of getting the development changed.
Lord True is delighted. Can you picture his smiling face? In the Richmond Council Press Release the Blue Baron, the Duke of York [House], the Dear Leader says: “I welcome the Court’s decision today and I hope that we can finally lay this matter to rest and move forward with creating a train station that is fit for purpose”. In fact we agree with most of that. Despite all the shenanigans and the flaws in the Solum plan, it is time to move on.
The inaugural Twickenham Alive Film Festival sparked a lot of interest and a lot of entries. The screening and awards ceremony took place on 26th April at Twickenham Stadium in front of the assembled glitterati from among the twickerati and beyond. Having been banned from attending after an incident at another local event involving a vicar, his pet python, a bottle of tequila and a well-known Richmond Councillor (see note 1 below) your humble correspondent had to report on the evening from a safe distance. Luckily the films are now online for the great viewing public – as well as us – to enjoy. You like? We do. There’s some real talent on display from a diverse mix of film makers.
You can see a selection of the best on the Twickenham Alive website. Of the ones we’ve seen so far, we especially like The Magick of Twickenham (Toby Alington), School Run Strut (Alban Low) and Garden of Reason (Ham Youth Centre). You’ll all have your own favourites, so take a look and let us know which ones warrant a BAFTA, a Twickenham TWAFTA or would get you buffing up a couple of Golden Globes in no time.
Why not add your reviews on here?
Note 1: No such incident took place or is likely to take place.
If you’ve got a bit of spare time and you want to help people in your local community, you could do a lot worse than have a wander down to the Richmond Volunteering Fair on Thursday 9th May. What’s going on? Good question, glad you asked. There will be over 35 organisations and charities showcasing what they do and looking for new volunteers. Whether it’s helping out with arty stuff, young people’s stuff, old people’s stuff, health stuff, environmental stuff or just some other kind of stuff there’s likely to be something that suits you. We’re talking ’bout the likes of Age UK, Orleans House Gallery, Richmond Carers’ Centre, River Thames Boat Project, Victim Support, Shooting Star Chase and loads more. It all takes place at Clarendon Hall, York House and runs from 1.00pm to 7.00pm. Drop on by, why don’t you?
* The Richmond Volunteering Fair
Twickerati celebrated three whole years of existence at the weekend. Perhaps ‘celebrated’ isn’t quite the right word… more a bemused questioning of ‘just how many hours have been spent on that bloody website?’ But to make the birthday event a bit special, the kind folk at Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery created this giant cupcake for us to mark the occasion. It’s huge, delicious… and now gone.
That’s one big cake!
(Shhh. No need to mention that it was three years not four.)
The concept of an indoor market in Twickenham sounds intriguing. When local resident Alan Winter wrote to the Richmond & Twickenham Times about his idea and also posted details about it on the ‘Your News’ section of twickerati
Twickenham. More spark needed. Apply within.
it generated a good deal of interest. In fact, here at twickerati
HQ we thought it warranted a place on the front page of the site. So, with plenty of lively debate on here and elsewhere about the state of our high streets, we hand over to Alan to explain his idea and how it could work. Oh, and he’d like your support too…
“An indoor community market. Could it happen in Twickenham? I think it could. Since floating the idea a month ago I have received messages of goodwill and support for the idea from many people. The positive response has encouraged me to pursue the vision as an active project. Here’s why and how it would work…
Heath Road now hosts an unacceptable number of empty retail and commercial properties. In the 50′s and 60′s this was a busy and varied shopping area with many specialist shops. It is now a sad looking entry route from the west into Twickenham, full of eateries that often don’t last very long or estate agents, barber shops and charity shops. The road is ripe for some serious thinking on a subject that was previously dropped when Poundland took over the then vacant Woolworth site.
So let’s consider the idea of a midweek and weekend indoor market. The idea here is a simple one. The empty shops that are all clustered around Rubens excellent bakery are empty for a reason. These are some of the smallest retail units in Heath Road. Traditionally they would have been taken on by budding entrepreneurs and start-up businesses but in today’s climate these units represent too much of a financial risk for a start-up. Business rates and rents are coming in at a minimum of £20,000 p.a. This is before shop fitting, stocking, insurance and utility costs.
So we need somewhere for the small retail business person to get a foot in the door. Hence Twickenham Indoor Market. Stallholders would be local resident entrepreneurs and craft persons who are unable to afford current retail rents and business rates but who would like somewhere to try out and sell their wares…
Even if you don’t live by it, go running or walk the dog by it, it’s worth getting down to the river early on a bright spring morning. Although we don’t usually say things like this… it’s actually quite uplifting.
Spring morning, Orleans Gardens